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[ van-gahrd ] [ ˈvænˌgɑrd ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


the forefront in any movement, field, activity, or the like.

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What is the origin of vanguard?

Vanguard “the forefront in any movement” comes from the same source as the recent Word of the Day avant-garde: the Middle French terms avant “to the front” and garde “guardianship.” Avant, which means “before” in modern French, comes from Latin ab ante, literally “from before.” The preposition ab “from” can be found in numerous English words that signify movement away from something, such as abduct (literally “to lead away”) and abstain (“to hold back”), while ante “before” appears in antechamber (“before a room”) and antediluvian (“before a flood”). Middle French garde is related both to English guard and ward, as the w sound in Germanic languages corresponds to g or gu in French; compare the recent Word of the Day guerdon. Vanguard was first recorded in English in the 1480s.

how is vanguard used?

MOOCs had exploded into the academic consciousness in summer 2011, when a free artificial-intelligence course offered by Stanford University in California attracted 160,000 students from around the world—23,000 of whom finished it …. Science, engineering and technology courses have been in the vanguard of the movement, but offerings in management, humanities and the arts are growing in popularity.

M. Mitchell Waldrop, “Online learning: Campus 2.0,” Nature, March 13, 2013

In the Gold Rush, Northern California attracted prospectors looking for financial independence. Now, this area is at the vanguard of a new movement—people seeking to use only the energy they produce themselves. Angry over blackouts, wildfires caused by utilities and rising electricity bills, a small but growing number of Californians in rural areas and in the suburbs of San Francisco are going off the grid.

Ivan Penn, “Frustrated With Utilities, Some Californians Are Leaving the Grid,” New York Times, March 13, 2022
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[ en-gahr-luhnd ] [ ɛnˈgɑr lənd ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling

verb (used with object)

to encircle with or as with a wreath or festoon of flowers, leaves, or other material.

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What is the origin of engarland?

Engarland “to encircle with a wreath of flowers” is a compound of the prefix en- and the verb garland. As we learned from the recent Word of the Day enkindle, en- alerts English speakers that the verb it is attached to will take a direct object. The odd thing here is that garland already takes direct objects, so the prefix en- in engarland is redundant, kind of like saying “added bonus,” “free gift,” or “unexpected surprise.” Garland is a borrowing from Old French garlande “wreath,” which is of unclear origin but may derive from the word for “wire” in Frankish, a now-extinct language closely related to English and German that was very influential on French. Garland can also appear as a surname, but one of the name’s most famous bearers, Judy Garland, took it as a stage name after her family name of Gumm proved less than desirable for show business. Engarland was first recorded in English circa 1580.

how is engarland used?

He was young. And he believed not only in the efficacy of sacrifice, but also in the reward which engarlands sacrifice like flowers a grave.

Joseph Roth, The Silent Prophet, 1929

Muses, I oft invoked your holy aid, / With choicest flowers my speech to engarland so / That it, despised in true but naked show, / Might win some grace in your sweet grace arrayed…

Philip Sidney, “Sonnet 55,” Astrophil and Stella, 1591
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[ kap-oo-air-uh ] [ ˌkæp uˈɛər ə ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


a dance form incorporating martial arts elements, originating in what is now Brazil as a system of physical discipline and movement.

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What is the origin of capoeira?

Capoeira “a Brazilian dance form incorporating martial arts elements” is a loanword from Brazilian Portuguese that is of uncertain origin. One hypothesis is that capoeira is one and the same as capoeira “cultivated area that has reverted to forest,” with the change in definition because of the dance form’s origins in gatherings among people living in rural areas. If true, this would make capoeira a derivative of the words kaá “forest, scrub” and puera “that once was” in Tupi, a language once spoken in what is now northern Brazil. Alternatively, instead of a connection to Tupi, capoeira may come from kapwila “a blow, beating” in Mbundu, a Bantu language of southern Angola. Capoeira was first recorded in English in the late 1920s.

how is capoeira used?

Over the past three decades, [Manoel Pereira Costa] has run neighborhood workshops that give kids a chance to immerse themselves in a tradition with roots in the dance, fighting and percussion practices of Africans brought to Brazil as slaves. In a favela with a history of violence between police and drug gangs, or armed battles between traffickers themselves, capoeira is an outlet that gives kids a sense of community—its practice a collective exercise blending characteristics of drum circles, sparring and tag-team gymnastics.

Bruno Kelly, “Teaching community through capoeira in a hardscrabble Rio slum,” Reuters, July 29, 2016

Having balance in a particular sport is a highly skilled activity, relying on hours and hours of practice. But there is no doubt that balance is also mediated through the brain. With his work on capoeira, a Brazilian martial art, [Greg Downey, who co-founded the blog neuroanthropology.net] found that instructors taught in ways that matched well with work on neuroplasticity in the brain, for example, through the reorientation of perception as well as imitative learning and mirror neurons.

Daniel Lende, as quoted in “Getting Hooked on Sin,” Scientific American, November 6, 2008
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